"I'll roll out
the red carpet for Michael to come down the stretch," Braxton counters.
"Only the carpet will be made of his blood."
probably will be a significant factor in this 15-round bout, and many experts
wonder if Spinks has been able to train effectively, in view of his troubled
winter. On the night of Jan. 5, a car in which he was a passenger was stopped
by the Philadelphia police. "We saw the flashing lights and we turned off
the street," says Leland, who was with Michael at the time. "We didn't
think the lights were meant for us. Before we knew it, they were following us
and there was another [police] car coming toward us. They jumped on us. They
said, 'Get out or we'll blow your heads off!' " A search of the car
revealed a .45-caliber revolver, which had been a gift to Michael from a friend
and which, shades of Pruitt-Igoe, he had taken out of his house five nights
earlier so he could fire off several celebratory New Year's Eve rounds.
Spinks was charged
with possession of an unlicensed weapon (which had been reported stolen) and
was released on $1,000 bond a few hours later; the trial date was set for April
4. The incident sparked Leon-like newspaper headlines. Like brother, like
brother. Two nights later, Sandy died in the crash on the Schuylkill
midnight as Michael Spinks runs through a drizzle on the soggy grass on the
bank of the Schuylkill River. The gray cloud cover somehow gives the night a
look more gloomy than it would have if it were completely black.
"I love to run
out here," he says. "Me and my lady used to run here all the time. It's
real nice in the summer. There are a lot of geese in the water, and there are
families with laughing kids, and—you see over there, over where that row of
cars is parked?—that's where the teenagers go to kiss. Yeah, it was
His breath visible
in the cold, he ducks under leafless tree branches, stops at a chin-up bar to
lift himself a few times and then continues, throwing uppercuts as he runs.
"I've been so frustrated and upset," he says. "This fight will be
my way of letting all the steam off. I'm going to take everything out on that
man, as if Braxton were to blame for everything that has happened to me since
The uppercuts come
faster as his stride lengthens, and he runs off into the foggy darkness, all